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Rural Health Task Force

The Brief

To address these challenges, the Bipartisan Policy Center launched a Rural Health Task Force on June 12, 2019 with support from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The task force draws upon a wide range of political and industry perspectives and includes health care experts, business leaders, physicians, former elected officials, and other key stakeholders.

Today, 60 million Americans living in rural areas are at a greater risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory disease. These communities also face alarming rates of hospital closures, health care worker shortages, and geographic challenges to getting timely care compared to those in urban areas. While there have been renewed efforts to revive rural America, its residents continue to face disparities to quality health care as efforts on the federal level have taken a siloed approach to improving access and delivery which will not solve the problem.

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About the Task Force

The Bipartisan Policy Center launched a Rural Health Task Force on June 12, 2019 with support from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The task force draws upon a wide range of political and industry perspectives and includes health care experts, business leaders, physicians, former elected officials, and other key stakeholders. The goal is to produce and promote recommendations that will help improve the health and health care of the 60 million Americans living in rural communities.

The task force is building on BPC’s 2018 report, Reinventing Rural Health Care: A Case Study of Seven Upper Midwest States. The report identified key areas for reform that could apply nationally to all rural communities: 1) allow rural communities to adjust their own health care services to better fit the community’s needs, including changes to Critical Access Hospitals, small rural clinics, and rural hospitals, 2) create appropriate payment models and value-based care programs that account for low patient volumes, and a reliance on Medicare and Medicaid, 3) build and retain the rural workforce, and 4) expand telemedicine services.

The task force will release policy recommendations in the spring of 2020.

Task Force Members

Co-Chairs

  • Former Senate Majority Leader and BPC Co-Founder Tom Daschle of South Dakota
  • Former Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine; BPC Senior Fellow and board member
  • Former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove of Mississippi
  • Former Gov. of Wisconsin and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson; BPC Senior Fellow

Members

  • Georges Benjamin, M.D., Executive Director, American Public Health Association
  • Former Rep. Henry Bonilla of Texas
  • David Blair, Chairman, Accountable Health Solutions Inc.
  • Former Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota
  • Karen DeSalvo, M.D., BPC Senior Fellow; Chief Health Officer, Google; former Acting Assistant secretary for Health and the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS
  • Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., BPC Senior Fellow; Partner and Chairman, Cressey & Company
  • Chris Jennings, Founder and President, Jennings Policy Strategies
  • Jennifer M. McKay, M.D., Medical Information Officer and Physician, Avera Health
  • Keith Mueller, Director of the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis
  • Karen Murphy, Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer, and Founding Director, Steele Institute for Health Innovation at Geisinger
  • Former Rep. Tom Tauke of Iowa
  • Gail Wilensky, Senior Fellow, Project HOPE; former Administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (now CMS)

Resources on Rural Health

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